ALL ASPECTS, NOT “SOME”
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 22, 2015) — On Friday, The Post & Email received a response to comments it had sent to Rep. Joseph Courtney (D-CT2) regarding “executive actions” declared by Obama last November which outlined a deferred deportation program for relatives of individuals residing in the country legally under certain conditions.
The “DAPA” proposal was modeled after Obama’s 2012 “DACA” program which allowed young illegal aliens to remain in the country if they purportedly passed a background check, attended school or obtained authorized employment.
The executive actions, announced on November 20, contemplated an expansion of DACA renewals from two-year renewal intervals to three-year intervals.
Hypothetically, illegals who qualify for DAPA could file income tax returns and receive refunds from the IRS even if they never paid taxes.
The majority of DACA applicants have been approved for deferred deportation and must undergo biometric scanning.
A series of memos signed by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson on the same day instructed ICE, the U.S. Border Patrol, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review all scheduled deportations and reprioritize removals from the country based on a multi-tiered system classifying offenses so as to concentrate resources where they were most needed.
On November 21, two presidential memoranda were published on the White House website, one of which created “Welcoming Communities” for “immigrants and refugees,” while the other instructed USCIS to “streamline” visa application processing for potential entrants to the country.
Obama claims that “Immigration reform is an economic, national security, and moral imperative.” He originally claimed, however, that he did not have the authority to change immigration “law.”
A surge of illegals at the border between October 2013 and August 2014 resulted in most who entered remaining in the country, according to Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) because they were not taken into custody and failed to appear for scheduled hearings. The American taxpayer paid for lodging, food, medical care, transportation, mental health counseling, education and other services for tens of thousands of illegal aliens, with provisions made for more illegals arriving over this coming summer.
Neither of the November 21, 2014 presidential memoranda dealt with the proposals Obama outlined the night before in his speech to the nation.
- Build welcoming communities
- Strengthen existing pathways to naturalization and promote civic engagement
- Support skill development, foster entrepreneurship, and protect new American workers
- Expand opportunities for linguistic integration and education
In January, a group of 26 states filed a lawsuit challenging the executive actions, claiming that they would suffer irreparable financial harm if the proposals were implemented. On February 16, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a temporary injunction against the executive actions based on his determination that the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to allow public comment. At the same time, Hanen left to higher courts the constitutional issues raised by the 26 states.
The day following Hanen’s order, CNN and other outlets reported that Obama had stated that his regime would honor it. TIME reported that “Judge Hanen, a 2002 appointee of President George W. Bush, prevented any implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, until a resolution is reached or the court decides otherwise” (emphasis The Post & Email’s).
However, the U.S. Department of Justice admitted during a March 19 hearing that it had begun issuing three-year DACA reprieves despite having told Hanen previously that no element of the executive actions had been initiated. In a brief to Hanen, the government reported that approximately 100,000 DACA applicants had been granted three-year stays of deportation beginning on November 24.
On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that “a computer glitch” resulted in approximately 2,000 individuals’ receipt of three-year deportation reprieves. DOJ attorneys were quoted as having written that after Hanen issued the injunction, “USCIS immediately took a series of steps intended to ensure that the agency ceased its preparations to implement the President’s executive actions.” DHS’s inspector general is reportedly tasked with investigating the error.
The U.S. Department of Justice appealed Hanen’s injunction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, with both sides having provided oral argument on April 17 to a three-judge panel in New Orleans.
In a March 19 summary, Hanen wrote:
The letter from Courtney follows. The Post & Email has placed in bold-faced type the words “some aspects.”
Thank you for contacting me regarding the President’s executive action on immigration reform. I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views.
On both sides of the political aisle and both sides of the issue, there is widespread agreement that the present immigration system is broken. In eastern Connecticut, farmers cannot access immigrant workers, families and spouses with US citizens are needlessly separated, and foreign students educated at UConn in STEM education are forced to leave due to out of date limits that have not been revisited since the 1980s.
Last fall, President Obama announced a series of temporary executive actions to improve security at the border and focus immigration enforcement activities. For example, the order shifts additional resources towards enforcement efforts to ensure that our frontline officers on the border have the tools and resources they need. The order also would prioritize the removal of undocumented immigrants that have recently crossed the border and those that are national security or public safety threats. Those with children that are U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents, have been in the country more than five years, can pass a criminal background check and pay fines and taxes would be eligible for temporary relief from removal for three years at a time. It does not, however, grant legal status to any migrants, or create a pathway to citizenship for those who have illegally entered the United States.
On February 16, 2015, a federal district court temporarily halted some aspects of President Obama’s executive actions pending a ruling on a lawsuit brought forward by twenty-six state’s attorney generals. While I appreciate your concerns, it is important to note that presidents of both parties have invoked executive authority to act on immigration enforcement for decades. I firmly believe, however, that the most effective long term solution to this problem is for Congress to work together to pass a comprehensive and bipartisan immigration bill that reforms our broken system, enforces our laws, increases security at our borders and provides a more efficient path to citizenship to those seeking to work and live by the laws of our nation. As validated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, doing so would both boost our economy and lower our budget deficit.
Please be assured that I will monitor this case closely as it moves through the courts, and keep your views in mind as Congress continues to debate this important issue in the future. Should you have any additional comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future. For more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website at courtney.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter at courtney.house.gov/forms/emailsignup . You can also connect with me at facebook.com/joecourtney or receive updates from twitter.com/repjoecourtney .
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